Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
Click on Logo (Original artwork by Lanie Frick for Messick Quarter Horses. Not permitted to be copied)

Monday, February 28, 2011

Our Truck breaks down in Ohio

and then our rental truck breaks down after we have been home in Nebraska!

It seems like I’ve been gone for a month! Where has it gone? My time is probably somewhere out on the interstate, where I have been traveling for the last 3 -4 weeks ago, 10 days ago, and more recently yesterday and today!

Back to the beginning. Before our truck broke down on the interstate, smoke billowing all over the place. Before we had to unhook our flatbed trailer, that had our recently purchased tractor on, and left it, along with the truck, at a truck dealer in Ohio. And before the rental truck decides to break down on us, a day before we were to return to Ohio!

Hubby and I left the beginning of February to visit parents in PA. We drove home this time, so that we could bring a tractor home from Ohio. We drove 14 hours to near Columbus, Ohio and stayed an evening with Hubby‘s nephew. The next morning we drove about 2 hours to see this tractor, pay for it, leave our flatbed at the place, and continue on to visit our parents. 5 hours later we were at Tom‘s mom’s place.

We visited hubby’s relatives, near Harrisburg, PA, for 3 days. We helped his mom get out and go to lunch each day, and to her Dr appt. We left on a Sunday morning to travel through State College to have a late breakfast with 2 of our college professors, who are now in their late 80’s. They and their wives met us and we had a great visit!

We continued 3 hours north west to visit my parents for 3 days. My mom has slight dementia, and after visiting with my family the first evening and next morning, we helped my dad clean. We took them to town to shop. And we made sure mom and dad had a cooked meal each night, instead of the instant meals from Meals on Wheels, which are great meals for the elderly. It was just time for something different.

After 3 days visiting my folks, we left the next morning to pick up our tractor and drive halfway home. We did manage to get the trailer hooked up and the tractor loaded, which took some finesse. It’s difficult to get a tractor, that has a front end wider than the flatbed trailer’s wheel wells, onto the trailer. The previous owner of the tractor moves trailer homes, and he knew exactly what to do. We were on the road shortly after. We figured we would go about 7 hours, stop for the night, and go the last 8 hours the next day. We got 2 hours down the road.

Then we see the smoke. Did we blow a tire. I wish. We stopped and checked all tires, on both the truck and trailer. None were hot and smoking. Hubby noticed some grease, and after looking under the truck, saw that we were leaking some fluids from somewhere. The smoke was coming from the oil hitting the hot muffler and anything else that was hot, causing the smoke. We crept to the next exit and headed for a gas station. It was 4:30 and we needed to get to a repair shop before closing!

Hubby put more transmission fluid in, after buying all he could from the small gas station. We asked where there was a repair shop close, figuring there had to be something within a few miles. All small towns have at least 1 repair shop. How can gas station attendants not know what businesses there are in a town with about 500 people? Finally, another person getting gas said there was a garage just a mile down the road. Geez. Now it’s almost 5 and we wanted to get to some garage before closing.

We pulled up in front of the garage and you guessed it, the garage was already closed and no one answered the phone number. I’m on the computer, goggling to see what repair shops are in the area. I first had to goggle the town and find other towns near us. Then hubby says to goggle GMC or Chevy Truck dealership, and good news, there was a dealership within 10 miles, and they did repairs.

The repair shop was closed, but they would see us at 7:30 the next morning. We slowly drove the 10 miles and parked at a hotel. Early the next morning, hubby takes the truck over to the repair shop, unhooks the trailer after blocking it up with lots on concrete, and checks in with the service center. Later that morning, we get the verdict. The torque converter and oil pump needs replaced. This is a major repair. More bad news….there are only 4 repair kits in the country! At any dealership anywhere! And we had to commit to the repair before the repair parts would be sent to us! Well, that’s a no brainer, since we can’t go anywhere with the truck leaking transmission fluid everywhere. Then, the parts include special bolts, and there were NONE at any dealership. The bolts had to be ordered at the manufacturer!

The one bit of good news we had is that the dealership got us a rental car at dealer price! $30 a day which is great. When they saw we had a truck, they gave us a rental truck for the same price. We had brought back some furniture from Tom’s dad and we didn’t want it sitting in the back of the truck, wrapped in plastic, for who knows how long, and in what type of weather!

We left the truck and headed home. 13 hours straight. Home at 1:30 in the morning! We left Tuesday, Feb 8, and had been gone for 10 days, traveling over 2500 miles by truck, and approximately 44 hours in a truck. And I couldn’t go to sleep. I sat with a glass of wine for another hour. At least I slept in until 8:30! But hubby was up and going at 7, to go to an ag farming clinic!

We waited patiently for the service center to finish the repairs. Parts came in the following Tues and Wed, and the truck was done last Thursday. Weather wouldn’t cooperate. We woke up at 4:30 Fri morning to leave. But with 3-6” of snow in our area from the day before, and Iowa looking bad for Friday and Saturday’s travel, we wisely stayed home and waited for roads to clear.

We had snow flurries Friday, but it quit snowing later in the day. Saturday, we went to take the rental truck to fill with gas to be ready early the next morning to leave. It would barely move! We pulled out of our driveway and went about 100 yards, and turned around and pulled it back into the driveway. Now what?

We called the rental company in Ohio and told them the truck wasn’t running right. Engine light was on, as well as other dashboard lights. They told us to take it to repair. Ah…it’s now running right. Here it is, Saturday morning, and the places we called close at noon. A dealership in town told us to try to get it to them. Luckily, when we restarted the truck and didn’t leave it idle long, it ran fine, except for the engine light stayed on. The dealership said to leave it, and to call the 800 number for the rental company to rent a different car in town. I had followed hubby to town, so I took him over to the airport to rent another car. What an ordeal!

Recap; We left Sunday morning to get our truck in Ohio, remember, the one that broke down 10 days ago while we were hauling back our tractor (that we just purchased). And we left only after we get a rental truck, come home from Ohio, ready to leave this past Sunday to go back to Ohio to get our truck, and what does the rental truck do, but break down on Saturday!

We rented a "Nanny's" car. I do not like small vehichles! It was bright orange/red color. We did not lose it in any of the gas station parking lots!

Hubby and I spent yesterday driving 13 hours to Ohio. The only good thing about that little car was that it sure was good on gas mileage! We picked up our truck today, and we’re driving the 13 hours home.

Hubby and I have only crabbed at each other twice, and that's only because after the 2nd offense (of his), we quit talking to each other! We are handing each other snacks though. LOL

And that’s been my February! Today is the last day. I hope March is bright and sunny and dry!

I’ll let you know in the morning if I’m sane. Wonder if my horses remember me.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Stylish Award

Last month I was awarded the “Stylish Award” from follow blogger, JJ, of The Joy of Horses. I’m sorry I am taking so long to acknowledge this. I’ve been gone a lot this past month. Thank you so much, JJ, for reading my blog and thinking that I am “Stylish”. I think that is so funny because I have never felt that I was in “style” as a kid.

The rules are as follows:

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award. Thank you, JJ! And I am really sorry this has taken so long to thank you!

2. Share 7 things about yourself.

3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers.

4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award!

OK, here are 7 things about myself:

1. I grew up in PA, now live in Nebraska, and I’m married to Tom for almost 30 years (this year), have 3 children, and 2 grandchildren, with one on the way in April.

2. I teach riding lessons and train horses, and try to teach people how to get along with horses.

3. I’m riding CTR’s, Competitive Trail Rides, now, after years at being at Quarter Horse shows with the kids. I want to add Endurance Riding this year. Maybe someday, I’ll get to Tevis.

4. I want to live in the mountains. Or at least have hills and trees around me. For those that don’t know, PA is hilly and Nebraska is flat.

5. I love flowers, photography, and the country, and everything that goes along with country living.

6. I want to get an Australian Shepherd Blue Merle Female puppy, just because I like that color and that breed!

7. Something about me…hmmm…maybe a little bit of a perfectionist, maybe a little impatient (but I’m working on that), maybe a little emotional (and more so with age), but also honest and truthful, probably to a fault. I try to look for the good and not the bad.


And for visiting my blog and leaving comments, THANKS!

Thank you, JJ of The Joy of Horses

1. Greener Pastures: A City Girl Goes Country

2. Cheryl Ann of Desert Horses

3. Sarah, of Between You, Me, and the Fencepost

4. Lisa of Laughing Orca Ranch

5. Small Farm Girl

6. Nuzzling Muzzles

7. Sam of 5 Starr’s Farm

8. Shirley of Ride a Good Horse

9. Judy of Loves Ranchlife and More

10. Own a Morgan

11. Far Side of Fifty

12. Skoog Farm

13. Rising Rainbow and Mikael of Mikael’s Mania - Arabian Horses

14. Just Another Day on the Prairie

15. Jonni of Trot on Hank

And my friends,

Sheila of Half-Broke Horses

Tammy of

And family,

My daughter Sara of The Power of a Ride

My DIL Amber of The Messick Life

THANK YOU! For reading, looking at my photos, and commenting!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Photo Time

I have a lot of interests, as I’m sure you do. And if you don’t think you do, then just think about what does interest you, what hobbies you have, what do you like to do, what do you like to watch, and pretty soon, you have lots of interests.

One of my interests is photography. I had a camera when I was a teenager, and I took a lot of pictures. I’m sure a lot of my photos where out of focus. I’m sure a lot weren’t very good. But I don’t remember those pictures. All I remember was that I took lots of pictures. Mostly of my horses. And some of my nieces and nephews. And then waited for the film to be developed.
Today, I love the ability of instantly seeing what shot we have. And the ability to delete!

I’ll never have a way with words. Not like The Pioneer Woman. Not like my friends, Tammy of and Sheila, of Half Broke Horses. They can all tell a story, and make it so real. They make me laugh and they make me think I am right there beside them. I think I’m too boring of a writer. I do write from the heart though, and I think, every now and then, I do have a good story.

But now, I think I can show what I’m thinking through pictures. I’ll give it a try anyways.
Just like a lot of websites before me, I’m going for a theme a day. I’m sure I won’t get a new photo up every day, but I’ll try. I’ll make sure to have a new picture every couple of days though! I’ll make sure to get busy now, and have plenty of photos in the archives!
And you'll be able to view these photos here, but mostly on my other blog, Pictures by Brenda.
So here’s what I’m thinking on themes:

Sunday Stills: because Tammy, of Horsetrailriders, and Ed, of Sunday Stills, revived my interest in photography. I love the challenges. I love the different topics. And I really love seeing what other people are taking photos of and how they take that photo.

Macro Monday, to work on those close ups. Of Everything. Horses. Flowers. Gardens. Trees and Plants. Nature. Sunrises. Sunsets. Sky and Clouds. Storms. Mother Earth!

Tacky Tuesdays: Bridles, Saddles, and Pads. Bits, Stirrups, and Leather. Trailers, Trucks and Hitches. Anything about tack and horses and trailers.

Wooden Wednesdays: Anything made of wood. Wonderful Barns, Antiques, Trees, Fences. wonderful!

Thursday's Treasured Moments: The Grandchildren. Mares and Foals. Horse Photos. Endless opportunities of a peaceful, quiet way of living.

Friday’s Furry Friends: Our Horses and Pets, Lady the Springer Spaniel, Posie the Australian Shepherd, and the 3 Beagles, AJ, Daisy and Ace. The Barn Cats. And the Grandchildren’s Animals, which include kittens, puppies, pigeons, rabbits, and whatever else happens to come live with them, and with us. All animals, furry and friendly. Fantastic!

Saddle Time on Saturdays: Time to hit the trails, even if it is just riding the fields. Hopefully, it will be of the trails that I ride each year. I hope to add new places every year!

I hope to add a new photo every week, but I can’t promise every day. That is my goal. A camera on my hip. Taking pics of my grandbabies, my horses, flowers, hills and trees, sky and clouds, the garden, and the day around me.

I hope you enjoy the photos. Let me know what you think, especially how I could improve the shot. How would you take the shot?

Maybe next winter, I’ll take a photography class.
Now, to get this post copied to Pictures by Brenda. And start taking pictures!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Walk

I recently read Richard Paul Evans “The Walk”. A sad story. The man’s wife died from complications of a horseback riding accident. During this same time, he lost his business to a lousy partner, and his home was foreclosed. He thought about suicide, but he stopped himself when he remembered that he promised his wife that he would live.

Alan walked away from everything he knew, literally. He lived in Seattle, Washington, and he determined where in America would be as far from Seattle as he could be. And he drew a line to Key West, Florida. This book is the first in a series about his walk to Key West.

Alan’s mother taught him about God when he was a child. Both before and during the time she was dying of cancer, and I feel that she continued teaching him about God after she was gone. She prayed as if she was talking to a friend in the room. Often, he would open his eyes during her prayers to see if she was talking to someone was in the room. After reading this first book, I could sense his compassion and gracious manner, but apparent only after he began his walk.

“Live.” McKale, Alan’s wife, told him to live as she was dying. The voice told him to live again as he was holding the pills in his hands. He had promised her he would. He cried, he packed a backpack, he had his friend sell his possessions since his home was foreclosed, and he started walking.

He had journals that he had written during his life. He took a blank, leather bound journal with him. He had ‘decided on a destination; the path is just a detail. I have begun my walk.”

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” The saying was written in a Chinese fortune cookie.

We need to start the single step. By choosing a closer destination, one that is achievable in a short time. Everyone is on a journey. Where should we be heading? What should be our first destination?

My journey is with horses. I love trail riding. I rode the hills of PA when I was a kid and I missed doing that for a long time. Riding CTR’s has given me back the terrain and scenery that I miss. Now I’m ready to start some endurance riding. My next step in my journey is to buy an Arab, condition, ride the trails and CTR’s this year, and maybe try 1 or 2 short endurance rides this fall. I just have to wait to see where this journey is taking me.

I’m ready to move on from the memories of the rides with Finny to the rides I’ll have with this new horse that I don’t have yet. I’m looking forward to riding the same fields with a smile on my face. I want to wake in the mornings with a sense of excitement and anticipation of the ride that I will have that day. I am ready to move on.

And I feel that happening. I’m anxious to go outside this afternoon and ride Savannah and Chick. The sun is shining. The outdoor arena is dry. The fields are drying. I’m ready to ride.

Sometimes we don’t now the answers or hear them until we are quiet. Answers come at the strangest of times, from the quiet of the mornings, in the middle of a hail storm, or in the peace of a summer evening. When the timing is right, you will hear the answer.

Don’t give up. Stay on the path. Continue your journey. The book said “the real sign of life is growth. And growth requires pain.” No one, or no pet, or no horse, is ever gone. They will always be with us, in our hearts and in our souls. They also help to make us who we are. Like the book said, we need to choose to remember them with sadness or with gratitude and joy. We find what we are looking for, so look for happiness and fond memories. That is the chose we need to make.

Stop and see what is in front of you. Appreciate what life has for you. See everything with happiness and not with sorrow. Let the life around you show you what your life should be. Does that make sense? Look at your life, look around you, and see your life differently than how you’ve been seeing it. Enjoy your life to the fullest. Appreciate the little things. How many times have we heard that or have been told that. But it is true.

Start the walk. Start or continue the journey. We never know what is in front of us or where we are going if we don’t start walking or looking or listening. Maybe sometimes we just need to wait. Patiently.

“The Walk” is a book about loss and the choice we have to grow from them. We need to continue our journey in life so that we can grow into the person God intended us to be. Walking helped Alan find the peace that he needs. Riding will help me find the peace that I need. Just as Alan met people along the way that he was meant to meet, there are horses in my journey that I am meant to meet.

And I am healing from my loss. The pain is less. I am smiling now.

Friday, February 18, 2011


Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not.

My daughter, Sara, is encouraging me to get over the sadness of Finny’s death. She understands what I am feeling, and she wants me to get past this stage of sadness, and to get to acceptance. She is encouraging me so that I can remember Finny fondly, with happy memories, and not of sadness and with tears.

Sara told me about a book, “Shack” by William Young that she listened to on tape. She said it would help me get beyond my grief to acceptance.

Hubby and I took a vacation recently. I took 2 books and read them both. On the return trip home, I picked up 2 books from the airport to read, you know, the romantic novel, easy reading, type.

I have a few favorite authors, including Richard Paul Evans. So I didn’t think anything when I picked up his book, “The Walk”, glancing at the back cover, reading the description, and bought it along with another book.

Little did I know how much this book would affect me. I’m not sure I’ll be able to read the book, “Shack”, that Sara has recommended, for awhile. This book was sad enough.

“The Walk” is about a man who loses his wife, his job, and his lifestyle. His wife had a terrible accident with a horse, and she died of complications. While I read about her pain, and her telling her husband that she was leaving him, my heart was in my throat. I had that lump that everyone talks about. I was afraid to do anything except to keep reading. If I did anything else, I would start crying. I didn’t dare talk out loud.

The husband lost his wife, and then lost his business to a lousy partner. He lost his home to foreclosure. He decided to walk as far away as he could from Seattle, Washington. That destination was The Keys, Florida. I had a Great-Aunt who lived in Key West. Coincidence again?

How could losing a horse compare to losing a loved one? I don’t know the answer to that. I’m sure it doesn’t compare. Maybe the question should be “how can one who has suffered a loss, heal”? I’m sure there are those who don’t think a broken heart from losing a pet or a horse can compare to a broken heart from losing a loved one. All I know is that I lost a dear Grandmother, a Father-in-law, a Brother-in-law, and the pain is the same. Right now, I’m thinking that the pain I feel is different, and I know it is different, and it is deeper. I knew I was losing my Grandmother Ruth. I knew my husband was losing his brother and his dad. I didn’t know I was losing Finny. I didn’t know how much he touched my heart.

Maybe then, the difference was that I felt “at lost”. Maybe now I’m getting over the grief. Maybe I’m getting over the guilt. I do know that I could have done more, but at the time of year that Finny died, I know now that it shouldn’t have mattered. Maybe I’m starting to get over the guilt. Especially when I read about a man who loses his beloved wife. How can it compare to that. And should it?

Getting back to the book, “The Walk”, the husband lost everything. And he is in pain. He lost his wife, who was his best friend from the age of 8. He decided to walk away as far as he could. And he started his walk.

This book is about the first part of his walk. This is a series, and there will be more books. I can’t imagine his pain. He lost his wife, his best friend. He started walking so that he couldn’t feel the pain. Until nighttime. Then he felt the pain of being alone. I know his pain. I know the emptiness that he is feeling.

I read this book, thinking that, as I was reading, this was the book that Sara was talking about. But it's not, and I'm not sure I could read the other book if it's a sad book.

Maybe I'm looking for answers. Maybe I'm looking for the way to heal. Maybe I'm looking for forgiveness. I don’t want to feel guilty anymore.

Doesn’t anyone understand? I tried to do my best, and my best wasn’t enough? That isn’t a good feeling. And I need to get beyond that, because now, I am understanding and feeling and knowing that isn't true.

Alan, the man in the book, began his walk. I’m sure his heart was heavy. Before his walk, he got his wife’s pills and he was going to take them, to stop his pain. But he stopped, because he promised his wife he would live. And the only way he could live without her is to walk as far away as he could from where he lived with her.

I am learning to live without Finny. I got another horse of a different breed and that wasn’t what I should have done. It was an important step, but not the right one. That horse was the first step to healing my heart, and I will always remember her for that. Now it’s time to move on.

Just like Alan who is walking his way into healing. I will ride my way into healing.

Yes, Sara, God only gives us what we can handle. I can now handle this grief which has turned into acceptance, and one day, will turn into (and now I pause to figure out the what) fond memories.

Thank you, God, for the time you gave me with Finny. I still hurt, and the tears still come, but only you know the reason. And in time, your plan will be revealed to me.

There is a reason why this is taking me so long to get over. I am now willing to wait for you to reveal that to me. Will another horse come into my life that will mean as much to me as Finny did, and without his death, would not have meant anything to me? Would another horse come into my life to give more meaning and purpose to my life with horses? Then that makes me wonder why Finny had to suffer, and that makes me sad all over again. Do you understand what I am going through? The torture? What the cause of his death did to me? Could it have been prevented?

Finny’s death can not compare to the death of a loved one. I know that. And I know that, with life, comes death. When and how is the question.

Knowing that all things die and they go to meet our Maker, is what makes death bearable. I am getting over the guilt of not being able to preserve Finny’s life on earth longer. My Maker wanted him in Heaven for a reason. Finny being away from me hurts me more than you know, and that I can type, and the realization of that has tears running down my face, but my Lord knows best.

My heart is in my throat again. The pain is almost unbearable, and I question the reasoning. My Lord, why? When so much good could have come from him living. And the sobs come.

I don’t have the answers. Except there is a reason. Far greater than we can know.

But my heart aches. And I want to heal. Lord, help me heal.

Maybe that is what He is waiting for. For me to ask Him for help.

And after a few moments of that sinking in, and asking why, I feel a peace.

Lord, help me heal, and be at peace.

And like I told Sara, and what I truly believe, everything happens for a reason.

Lord, with your ultimate wisdom, I don’t understand, but someday I will. Finny died for a reason. I pray that it makes me a better horse woman. Compassionate. Patient.

I will pass on whatever I learn. Please teach me and show me what you want me to teach.

I am tired of grieving. I want to heal. I want to remember Finny with fond memories and not tears, and I will.

Please, God, whatever you want to reveal to me, please do so, so that my heart can heal and that I can teach others.

Your wisdom should be what we all strive for.

I don’t think I’ll be able to read “The Shack”.

Early Spring

(Geese March 2010)

Is it spring already?
50 degree temps,
Snow is melting,
Ice is melting,
And there is plenty of mud.

I saw geese flying north today,
Not just one flock,
But three flocks
during evening chore time,
And I was outside without a coat on.

Is it spring already,
I don’t think so,
Even though the temps are warm this week,
Next week is to be back to the 30’s
And I’ll be back to wearing a winter coat!

Will it snow again?
Will it freeze again?
Will there be more ice?
I think so,
But I hope there isn’t!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tractor is Loaded

The Case tractor is loaded onto our flatbed trailer. That is the good news.

The bale spear fit under the loader. We put the spare tire up against the spear and neither will move.

Hubby is checking to make sure the chains and straps are tight.
The tractor is chained on, and just fits onto the trailer.

But barely. There is no extra room for the tires on the left.

and only a very tiny gap on the right.

The front tires are a little wider, and the tractor had to be "shimmed with the front end raised to get the tractor on.

The tractor is ready to go.

Hey, wait for me. I'm still taking pictures!

We're on our way to Nebraska. The bad news is that our truck started leaking transmission fluid about 3 hours after picking up the tractor, at 5 in the afternoon. We stopped at a GMC truck dealer and they got the truck into service early the next morning. Parts need to be ordered. We were able to rent a truck at the dealer price, and we were able to come home.

Then we get to make the 11 hour trip to pick up the tractor and truck next week.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Our "New" Tractor

Not a brand new tractor, but new to us. And boy, do we need it! We will keep our other tractor, a John Deere 2010, as it can still move round bales. But I plan on hooking up the arena rotatiller to the JD and leaving it hooked up to work the arena anytime that I need to!

1998 Case International c50. 4 wheel drive. I just love that it is 4 WD! Loader model 1027.

Look at those tires! We shouldn't get stuck! The tractor is 4WD!

This tractor has a wide front end. The bucket appears to be wider than the tractor.

Look at the size of this bucket. That will move manure into large piles easily. And it should be able to push the snow out of our driveway. You know, the snow that the road grader puts there!

We will NEVER be snowed in again. Well, never say never. At least we won't be snowed in if the tractor is running well!

We can easily unhook the bucket and put the bale spear on. We'll be able to lift the bales easily to take them to the round bale feeders.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Traveling the Turnpike

We traveled home to Pennsylvania, driving our truck this time, so that we can pick up a tractor in Ohio on our return trip back to Nebraska. We're south in the state, coming up from the corner of West Virginia, into Pittsburgh. We picked up the PA turnpike on the east side of Pittsburgh.

We travel around, and through, the edge of the Appalachian Mountains.

I say through, because we go through 4 sets of these tunnels. Hubby said that there used to be 8 of them!

I love the PA hills. The camera doesn't do them justice!

First tunnels,

of the Alleghey Mountain range,

2nd tunnel, the Tuscardor,

The inside of the tunnel, with lots of lights. I don't like being underground. I asked hubby how long these tunnels will last before they collapse. That gives me goosebumps!

3rd tunnel, the Kittatinny,

4th tunnel, Blue Mountain,

Back to the view of the hills.
We won't be traveling back through the tunnels to return to Nebraska. We'll be heading north, through State College, to visit our college professors and to buy some Penn State t-shirts, before traveling on to DuBois to visit my parents. We'll be further north in the state then, and we'll come back to Nebraska by way of I-80 most of the way. We'll have to go south near Columbus to pick up the tractor, and we'll stay south of I-80 until Iowa.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Heading to PA

Hubby and I are heading to PA to visit our parents. Driving. By way of Columbus, Ohio. We’ll travel the southern part of PA via the Turnpike to Harrisburg area, where hubby‘s mom‘s house. Then after a few days, we’ll be heading northwest, through State College and Penn State, on the way to DuBois, where my parents live.

After Super Bowl Sunday, we needed a day to prepare for the trip. The last few years, we have been flying into Baltimore or Pittsburgh. This year we decided to drive, taking the truck and flatbed trailer, to pick up a tractor that hubby found on the internet. We now own a 1998 Case with a loader! And it’s a big loader! We will no longer be snowed in, or have our driveway filled 3’ deep by the road grader!

After spending an afternoon on re-wiring the trailer, hubby got everything he needed to haul the trailer home. Spare trailer tire. Chains and tie straps.

Then we packed, and I was glad to see that we only had 1 large suitcase and 1 smaller one, with me packing in the smaller one! I only took 1 change of clothes per day, and really, that is all anyone should pack! Then we packed a shoe bag - old ones, good ones, and sneakers. Well, actually we wore the old ones, so 2 extra pairs each, since we don’t know what the weather would be like. Oh, and don’t forget the overnight bag, as well as a flannel sheet, to use when we stop at Ben‘s, Tom’s nephew in Columbus, for the night. Then the extra coat - one nice one and one really warm one for each of us!

I got the snack bag ready, and a cooler with pop. I filled a bag with some magazines and books that I hope to read. After 2 laptops and my camera, the back seat was full! How can 2 people have so much stuff to take? But we are going for 8 days and it is winter, so who knows what weather we will run into. Oh, and speaking of that, we put in a sleeping bag, and anytime hubby remembers, we put in his slim pillow. I don’t know why he calls it a pillow, because it’s flat and has zero fluff.

Anticipating frigid weather, and we didn’t realize how frigid the first morning was going to be, hubby filled the gas tank and checked and filled all tires on the truck and trailer. I filled all waters and turned up some room heaters so pipes won’t freeze.

We set the alarm for 4:30. That is AM. Hubby fed dogs and cats, and put everything into the truck, since it was dark by the time we had all of our bags and food downstairs and by the door. Normally, everything except the laptops and camera and my purse would have been in the truck the night before. But hubby had everything in the back seat of the truck in about 10 minutes, while I stayed warm inside. It was -4.

I think I was in la-la land the first hour, driving to and through Omaha. After crossing the river into Iowa, I dozed off and on for about an hour. The road was rough, and the tires, since hubby had to fill them ALL the way with air, were very bouncy. My head got bounced around enough, and I decided to drink a cup of coffee. Oh, yes, we have a full thermos and 2 travel mugs also, as well as the Garmin Nuvi and cell phones with internet connections. We also have the converter to plug all these wires into so they have power! I have so many wires in front of my legs that I almost can’t get out of the truck.

Well, I made the mistake of looking at the truck temperature gauge, and it read a (-15). That is a MINUS 15. And this was about 2 hours after leaving home. When the sun came out, it warmed up to a -4 by the time we left Iowa.

14 hours later, we arrived at Ben’s place in Columbus. We parked the truck and trailer behind the Kroger’s grocery store and put all the essentials for the night into Ben’s Blazer. Luckily the truck and trailer were there the next morning at 6:45.

I was hoping no one would break a truck window and take our clothes and shoes and winter coats! Lol Everything was fine, except we didn’t have trailer lights. After blowing 2 fuses, hubby decided that there was enough morning light to drive without lights. But when we pulled into a gas station 15 minutes later, we had trailer turn signals. We needed fuel for both the truck and for us. Our fuel was in the form of coffee, a very large coffee I might add.

We drove 2 hours to see and purchase the tractor. We drove through the town where Longaberger baskets are, and I wished I would have had my camera ready. I knew their office building or their plant was built in the shape of a basket. It was a very large building with an extremely large handle.

The tractor is huge, runs great, and is going to be a great asset to my business. Even though it isn’t green, I’m just happy to have a tractor that will move round bales and snow, and that will run all the time!

I need to get the camera out, as we are passing some really neat, older barns. I just love old barns.

I’ll taking some pics today, as we travel the PA Turnpike to hubby’s mother’s home. We’ve gone through some bridges and I should have taken a picture of them, also. I think there is 1 more on the way, so check back tomorrow for some shots of the PA countryside!

Photos will be posted tomorrow!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Finny's Farewell Book

My daughter, Sara, Made me a Farewell Book of Finny. I just love this first pic, as it shows his soft eye, during a fun ride time we had one day in the field, on a warm fall day. I'll always remember that day, taking pictures as I rode. She wanted this book to be a surprise, but she needed me to send her some info. Finny's CTR judge's cards, maps of the places that I rode, the sympathy cards and thoughtful notes from friends, and from others who only knew me by the big black horse I rode. This book will always have a special place on a shelf, as Finny will always have a special place in my heart.

Thank you, Sara and Tom, and others, who are helping me to get over Finny's death. The sadness is being replaced with fond memories.

Finny's Farewell Book...


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